03-24-17 Colorado Springs Stormwater Efforts Showcased at Arkansas River Basin Water Forum

Colorado Springs Stormwater Efforts Showcased at Arkansas River Basin Water Forum

Some called it “Miracle May,” but the rains in the spring of 2015 exacerbated problems left behind by wildfire in one of Colorado Springs’ top tourist draws, Garden of the Gods Park.

The ongoing work on the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project will be among El Paso County programs highlighted during afternoon tours at this year’s Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, April 26-27 at Hotel Elegante, 2886 S. Circle Drive, Colorado Springs.

“Our goal was to have a natural channel restoration through the Garden of the Gods to reduce sediment and cut-banks and stabilize that reach that flows into Fountain Creek,” said Richard Mulledy, Stormwater Manager for the city of Colorado Springs.

The Camp Creek Project began in 2013, followed the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. The fire damaged trees, plants and soil in the watershed above the city-owned Garden of the Gods Park as well as the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site on the west side of Colorado Springs.

Then came “Miracle May,” which further eroded the already aging and deteriorating flood control channel along 31st Street in Colorado Springs. It’s anticipated that work to repair the damage and stabilize Camp Creek will take about five years.

But Camp Creek is just one of dozens of projects which have been jump-started in the last year in Colorado Springs.

As part of its agreements with Pueblo County for the construction of the Southern Delivery System, Colorado Springs agreed to spend $460 million over a 20-year period to improve Stormwater drainage citywide. The size of the city’s stormwater staff nearly doubled, allowing more inspection, public education, engineering and construction.

“The stability of the program has brought a lot of great people into the program and they have put their heart and soul into it,” said Mulledy, who was brought on board to head the department just a year ago.

Mulledy also will speak as part of a panel on stormwater planning and implementation that will include representatives of Manitou Springs, the Greenway Fund, the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District and Colorado Springs Utilities, all of which play a role in controlling flood waters on Fountain Creek.

The panel is just one of many over the two-day event that will examine water issues that are pertinent to the Arkansas River basin, with topics ranging from conservation to recreation.

Other afternoon tours on April 26 will include a walking tour of historic mineral springs located in Manitou Springs; a look at wildfire prevention and restoration projects; and a bicycle ride around the Legacy Loop which aligns with Fountain Creek, Monument Creek and Shook’s Run.

Registrations and information about this year’s forum are available at www.ARBWF.org.

Written & submitted to the BARN by:

Contact: Jean Van-Pelt @ 719-251-2845 or by email: ARBWF1994@gmail.com